Volunteer-based online information services to invisible users in underserved contexts





Health communication, Community communication, Knowledge management, Information service, Invisible information, User, Underserved contexts, Volunteer-based information service


This article proposes a conceptual model where the consumer of an information service is invisible to the service provider when using an online platform. The volume of information is increasing at an alarming rate and with the trend towards self-management of one’s own health it is possible for people to seek information relevant to their needs. Without understanding the situation that causes the information need and how the information user as a cognitive actor makes sense of this need, the process of seeking information and how value is created towards an information goal, the provision of relevant quality information remains complex. An added complexity is the use of online platforms to facilitate the information service where users now interact with technology, information and humans through the platform. An existing online service provider, typical of a volunteer-based organisation in an underserved context, is used as the case. The article presents how the service provider uses the data generated by the system to understand the invisible user. The proposed conceptual model is derived from related literature and is used to present the empirical case.


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